- Touches scored: by thrusting and cutting
- Special rule: right of way – if both fencers hit each other at the same time, the fencer with the initiative (the one who is going forward OR makes contact with the blade) gets the touch
- Target zone: from the waist up (excluding hands)
Sabre and foil are similar because they both have right-of-way.
One-light actions: First things first. One-light actions are pretty easy to understand: whoever scores gets the point. But, it’s helpful to see how these actions look like before adding more complexity.
- Straight attack: the most basic offensive action
- Parry-riposte: a defensive action. Dolniceanu (left) is the one to start the attack. However, Homer (right) blocks that attack, and then he scores. The action of blocking your opponent’s attack with your blade is called “parry,” and hitting your opponent right after your opponent finishes an offensive action is called a “riposte.” Therefore, blocking your opponent’s attack and then hitting is called a “parry-riposte”
- Counterattack: a defensive action. Anstett (right) scores on Szabo’s (left) attack. If Szabo had also scored, it would’ve been his touch because Szabo was going forward (Szabo had the right-of-way). Therefore, in order to score on a counterattack, you must have a single light.
Two-light actions: Now it’s time to understand actions when two lights go off.
Remember: In sabre, there is right-of-way. This means that when both fencers hit each other at the same time, the fencer with the initiative (the one who is going forward OR makes contact with the blade) gets the touch.
Examples of right-of-way:
- Attack against counteratack: even though both fencers hit each other, the touch is awarded to Homer (right) because he was attacking (Homer had the initiative because he was going forward).
- Parry-riposte against remise: even though both fencers hit each other, the touch is awarded to Homer (right) because he blocked Dolniceanu’s (left) first attack. In other words, Dolniceanu lost his right-of-way after missing his first attack. So, even though Dolniceanu hit on his continuation of the attack (which is called a “remise”), it was now Homer’s right-of-way.
Important distinctions between foil and sabre’s right-of-way:
In terms of sabre’s right-of-way, some important distinctions with regard to foil are explained below:
- Attack on preparation: when both fencers attack at the same time, the touch is awarded to the fencer who extends the ARM (in case both fencers extend their arms, the touch is awarded to the fencer who extends the arm FIRST). This is Couturier’s (left) touch because even though both fencers attacked at the same time, Couturier extended his arm.
- “Attack misses” when your front foot lands on the strip: an attack is over the moment your FRONT FOOT lands on the strip. In other words: if you haven’t scored at the moment your front foot has landed on the strip, you no longer have the right-of-way because your attack missed. In the example, Homer’s (right) front foot had already landed on the strip before he was able to hit (his attack missed). Therefore, it is Dolniceanu’s (left) touch because he had the right-of-way.
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